October 28, 2014

Spring is Coming: #RUPrepared ?

Just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world and taking their bad advice about classes and registration, you could've been getting down to this sick beat:

Over the next four weeks of Spring 2015 preregistration, Dean Frosh is going to be laying down a sick beat of common sense, cool tips about Degree Navigator (DN), Course Schedule Planner (CSP), rate my professor, and webreg, and not-so-common advice under the #RUPrepared hashtag.

Follow us @SASadvising for links and subscribe to the SAS Froshblog to be in-the-know about all things Spring Reg.

Spring is Coming… #RUPrepared ?

October 17, 2014

Hope is NOT an Action Plan

Since your first college visit, many well-meaning but annoying adults in your life have nodded sagely and said, “You know, college is going to be different from high school.” Even if your reaction was a dismissive “Whatevs,” you still might have wondered HOW college is going to be different from high school.

Dean Frosh finds that October and first exams bring much more clarity to those differences. For advisers, this is the time of the semester when we think you’re beginning to believe us. And really, the issue isn’t recognizing that college is different than high school, the issue is figuring how to manage that change.


You’re a good student. Even good students earn a 32 on the Chem exam and multiple NPs in Expos. It’s just that HOW you’re a good student may need some tweaking. Consider the structure of your studying. How do you structure your study time? Are you reading material PRIOR to when it’s introduced in class? Are you reading again AFTER class to review the concepts?

Everything is studying. Reading before lecture. Sitting in lecture taking notes. Talking with your friends about your class. So, don’t block out two hours and label it “study.” You need to see studying as the overarching plan to master your courses. And that two hour block needs details to really be useful; label it with more specificity: read Expos essay, re-read Expos essay, do Chem problems, review Monday’s Bio lecture notes.

Your classes require A LOT of reading and rereading and rereading. If you’re only reading something once, you’re not going to fully grasp the concepts in a way that enables you to apply them. You produce homework when you can figure out how to plug in problems, but strong work on exams requires real knowledge and application of concepts.

Cramming for exams is not enough. Your short term memory may be able to get youthrough one exam, but your advanced classes are going to require a real foundation of concepts.

You don’t need to take the class, you need to PASS the class. It’s easy to look at your education as a series of check boxes – Gen Chem 1 (check), Gen Chem 2 (check), then Organic 1… But, the reality is that each of those courses lays a foundation for the concepts of the next one. And if your foundation is shaky, the building is ultimately not going to support Biochemistry or a strong MCAT.  Merely crossing it off a to-do list doesn’t serve the purpose you think it’s serving.

As with everything you may struggle with at Rutgers, we have resources to help you!

Academic Coaching : You may be just learning that it is possible to fail a test or paper spectacularly. Some of the numbers you may be seeing next to your name in the electronic gradebook look more like your age than your test performance. They’re a good marker that something in the way you have prepared is not working. If you’re lucky enough to have never had to study in high school, you may find that your luck has run out. That may mean going back to basics and looking at HOW you study, how you take notes, how you organize yourself. Some of these are tasks you may never have even given any thought to in the past. One of the on-campus resources to help with this scrutiny is Academic Coaching – consider making an appointment with an Academic Coach today.

Academic Advising: If you have a critical issue or question about your academics, stop in to any SAS Advising office and talk with the Reference dean on duty. That dean can triage your concerns, help with immediate issues and make an appointment for you to sit down with an adviser for long-term planning.  An academic adviser can help you find resources on campus, connect to faculty and upperclass students, and see your current performance in terms of the big picture decisions of your college career. He/she is often a good sounding board about the issues you’re weighing, particularly how to realistically balance all of your responsibilities toward a strong finish to the semester.
Hoping for the best is an understandable response to a stressful situation, but it is NOT an action plan. Don’t delay these important conversations!

October 6, 2014

Better Late Than Midterms!

We know that it sounds odd that we’re welcoming you to Rutgers at the beginning of October. A month has passed since the first day of classes and hopefully you’re settling in to life as a Scarlet Knight. Dean Frosh has found that good advice often gets lost when offered during the shock and awe of the early days of the semester when you’re just trying to find your classes and figure out the buses.

So, on behalf of the SAS First-Year Student Advising team (collectively known as Dean Frosh), we’re
happy to have you joining the Rutgers family, and we look forward to accompanying you on your journey as Scarlet Knights!

Not Dean Frosh, but We Wish!
We want that journey to be a successful one, so we hope that you’ll continue to read this blog for direction, speak with your advisers about classes, ask strangers if you’re on the right bus, and use all of the resources available to you to make that possible.

Our Facebook news feed has been blowing up with advice for college students for the past few weeks. Since it’s likely that your newsfeed was filled with people doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or moving into their new college, we wanted to share some highlights with you:

10 Things Every College Professor Hates is a great list of how to interact with your professors. Most of it is common sense  (By the way, we’ve ALL tried #7 when we were students and are therefore smart enough to know when it’s happening, and #3 is the one that drives us crazy when we’re teaching!)

Don’t Email Me is about a faculty member (at another school) who has completely banned students from emailing her. A little extreme? For sure. But the points made in the article are important ones. They’re a great reminder that we expect you, our students, to be self-sufficient and to be informed. Fast forward: your employers will expect this, too! 

Finally, take a few minutes to read What Every Knight Should Know.  It provides some basic information for new students about academics, staying healthy, resources at Rutgers, getting involved in clubs and organizations, and more.

 You’ll notice that some of the advice in the articles above is repetitive – that’s because the importance of being professional and courteous members of the Rutgers family can not be stressed enough.